Island residents, tourists, and the Filipino community flocked to the Civic Center in Susupe last Sunday to take part in the 2012 Pistang Pinoy, the annual event organized by the United Filipino Organization in celebration of the 114th Philippine Independence Day.
“We're very pleased to see not just our fellow kababayans but other members of the community enjoy Pistang Pinoy. All our hard work paid off and we thank the community for all their support which made the event successful,” UFO president Bong Malasarte told Saipan Tribune.
The event kicked off in the morning, with 12 food vendors keeping festival-goers fed and hydrated. Thirteen non-food vendors also sold assorted merchandise.
Spectators were treated to live entertainment by different performing individuals and groups, including Jayrald Mercene, Christylyn Montilla, Canape Brothers, High Pitch Band, Exhibit Dancers, Bayani Association, Sherijean & Yuki Ana Dela Cruz, Leonard Manuel Alla, Umang Glee Club, Vox Angelics Choir, Mikaella Cunanan, Kyokusenkai Karate Do, Cornerstone Performing Arts Group, Nikki Canape, Erica Tubera, Lawrence Tubera, Rachelle Apritado, Green Meadow Dance Crew, and Uncle Ben's Music & Dance Studio.
A medical mission spearheaded by the Tau Gamma Phi-Triskelion drew 137 individuals who availed of the free blood sugar and blood pressure screenings.
“It's the first time that the group held such activity,” said president Rio Evangelista. He thanked all generous donors that made the medical mission possible: Brabu Pharmacy, Magic 100.3KWAW, Concept One, IT&E, City Trust Bank, Star Water, RNV Construction, The Lounge Bakery, DJ Fish Morbile, and all Triskelion Groups.
A drawing contest for the youth was also held. The 10 participants were asked to draw the Philippine flag and what kalayaan or freedom means to them. The winners were John Romeo Malasarte, first place, $25; Ramhae Awit, second place, $15; and Christian Bernardo, third place, $10.
The culinary team of Chalan Kanoa Beach Hotel dominated the Panlasang Pinoy cooking contest, one of the event highlights. The group won $300 for their on-the-spot preparation of Sizzling Squid, along with their renditions of Beef Steak Tagalog, Pork Adobo, Sweet & Sour Mahi-Mahi, and Ginataang Puso ng Saging.
Other winners and their corresponding prizes were Shirley's Coffee Shop, second place, $200; Sandjuvy Restaurant, third place, $100; and Top Cuisine, fourth place, $50. Judges for the contest were chef William Retardo of Mariana Resort & Spa, chef Roman Neri of Saipan World Resort, chef Jake Villanueva of Naked Fish, and Andrea Sablan.
Pistang Pinoy culminated with the first ever Deal or No Deal live game, where Kagman resident Erlinda Fabricante Arriola had the chance to win $1,000. (See related story).
UFO secretary Annamae Adaza gave special recognition to their major sponsor for the event. “The UFO team is so happy that our event was a huge success and we especially thank Docomo Pacific, particularly general manager James Nelson, for always helping and supporting our organization all the way.”
Adaza also recognized other generous donors: Tan Siu Lin Foundation, Marpac, Coca-Cola, Overseas Workers Welfare Association and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office, Kristo Rai Parish, Real International Corp., Andrea Sablan, Top Cuisine, Marianas Resort & Spa, Aqua Resort Club, Tinian Dynasty, Hyatt Regency Saipan, Fiesta Resort & Spa, Kanoa Resort Saipan, Saipan World Resort, Pacific Islands Club, Chalan Kanoa Beach Hotel, Sherwood, Shenanigans, Tony Roma's, Capricciosa, Truong's, Country House, Moby Dick Restaurant, Smile Marianas, Don Pedro Restaurant & Karaoke Bar, Dulili Enterprises, Nelida Atalig, Best Seller, Shirley Food Manufacturing, IP&E, Taro Sue Store, and two anonymous donors.
She also acknowledged program coordinator and host Minda Castro, choreographers Joel Vallega and Ernie Molina, Magic 100.3, Gary Camacho of CUC, Becky Tenorio of TSL Foundation, Mario Mayuga, Saipan Dance Studio, and all UFO officers and members.
UFO sponsored a lechon or roasted pig that members and other guests enjoyed at the end of the event.